Viral Graphics (Greece)

Viral Graphics (Greece)

I have to apologize to all our super politicians and other Standart and Poors self proclaimed rulers of the world, but Greece definitly deserve a AAA rate. His assets are strongs as we already see here or here, and, if it was not already enough to show that we can be perfectly confident for the future of Greece, let me introduce you to Viral Graphics...

Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?

Between the two of us in Viral, you'll find us listening to everything from old psych to death metal. Our average setlist can start with the 13th Floor Elevators, move on to Kerasphorus, and end with Black Sabbath. We can brainstorm along to the Melvins as much as we can to German Oak.

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

We are Alexandros Pyromallis and Konstantinos Psichas, born in Athens, Greece and seeking to evade this sinking ship. We do analogue illustrations for record covers, gig posters, t-shirts and anything else that might come our way. We hold traditional media and themes in high respect, while always striving to create something unseen and fresh. Currently struggling with tendonitis due to extreme stippling sessions.

When did you start drawing?

Probably from the time we could actually hold a pencil, drawing demons, barbarians and owls. We got 'serious' with it about 5 years ago and still continue to do so, luckily enough.

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?

Both of us went to art-related courses, but they were mostly useless to us in the long run, as they dealt with more soulless practices. We saw that people were actually still drawing and crafting things to complement our favorite music and that's what  pretty much lead us to hone our skills in order to do the same. The fact that an Austin Osman Spare or Nick Blinko piece inspire us more than anything created with vectors, is absolutely what sparks the fire in us to grab a pen and keep at it till it gets better. 

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?

We no longer do other things for a living. Working at mainstream graphic design agencies, is an experience we wouldn't wish upon anyone. But, that doesn't mean we are currently making a living from our art. Ideally, we will be able to do so in the future, helped by a great deal of patience, good work and perseverance.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

Not really, although we are currently in the process of making our own fanzine called Bacteria. It will focus on hand drawn illustration and will be a printed zine. We've managed to include work and interviews from some of our favorite artists including David V D'Andrea, Santos, Simon Fowler, Glyn Smith and more.

Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?

We gather influence from a wide variety of sources. The world around us is one influence. The fauna and flora surrounding us, are something we always love to examine, interpret and transform through our art. We are also affected by the invisible world around us and internally, as much as the visible. Another influence is definitely music, of all types, as mentioned above. Music also accompanies our drawing sessions. The feel, atmosphere and rhythm of certain music is something that finds it's way into our work. Movies have some influence too, mainly older stuff by Fulci, Jodorowsky, Dreyer, Rollin, Lang, Kubrick, Fisher and more. As far as visual artists, there are many, but for the time being we'll mention just a few that inspire us with their craft : Vania Zouravliov, Alan Forbes, David V D'Andrea, Austin Osman Spare, Gustave Dore, Ralph Steadman, Aaron Horkey, Denis Forkas Kostromitin.

What are the principal steps in your work ?

It really depends. The nature of the piece and desired outcome, whether it's commissioned or self-initiated and our mood at the time, all dictate how we will go about producing our work. Generally, we start our rough design in pencil, but not completing all elements of the piece. We then proceed to inking with a variety of pens from .005 to 05 tips, sometimes using brushes and markers as well. Afterwards we either scan into Photoshop and Illustrator for colors and layout, or we color with analogue materials, again depending on the piece.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

Although our work was a mixed bag of techniques when we started off in Viral, we currently do all our artwork by hand, except for in some cases the layout of a record (lyric sheets etc), separations for screen printing etc. Lettering is also done by hand most of the time. 

How long does it take you to do a poster?

This obviously depends on the complexity and size of the piece. Normally, it takes us one to two weeks from the day we get the job, to sending off to the printers. The artwork itself, excluding planning, coloring and layout, usually takes us anytime from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. As there are two of us in Viral, we manage to finish before deadlines, without having to compromise on the time needed to craft something worthwhile.

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?

Well, that specific oil painting you just mentioned would be out of the question. We're open minded though and we want to constantly evolve our craft. We would do anything different, as long as it feels right to us and to the identity which we have given to Viral. Projects we are not up for, are things like "will you draw me up a free tattoo" or "draw a portrait of me please". Our style will always evolve anyway and it's more the premise and use behind a project that we'd avoid, than the actual execution. 

For which band have you already worked for?

Unearthly Trance, Melvins, Miasmal, Coffins, Moss, Graveyard, Keelhaul, Tombs, The Osedax, Mudhoney, Wolves In the Throne Room, Jucifer, Grief, Nebula, Dephosphorus and more. We've also done work for music festivals like the Amplifier Worship festival in Finland and the awesome Utech Records festival.

For which band would you love to work?

Anything that comes our way as long as it's inspiring. The band also doesn't necessarily have to be something we listen to - the work can still be rewarding artistically. Some random selections though, would be Swans, Earthless, Circle, Bastard Noise, Neurosis, Autopsy and I guess, many more.

Do you choose the artists yourself?

When we first started, we utilized the guerilla tactic of going up to bands and demanding they use our artwork, which kind of worked. Nowadays, we just wait on requests, which we're fortunate enough to have and also be artists that we appreciate. A band that we enjoy sending us an email to ask for artwork, out of the blue, is one of the perks of doing what we do.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

I wouldn't say anything is really 'difficult', in the sense that every single aspect of the poster is a joy for us to create. If anything, the most difficult part is before you put pen to paper. Once the idea comes together in our heads, everything else comes naturally. On the other hand, when creating hand drawn work all elements are very difficult. Setting up the lettering by hand, dot shading almost the whole piece, practicing accurate anatomy are things that although we enjoy doing, are nothing 'easy'.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?

We've noticed that our paths have crossed with many artists and that became even more apparent when we started putting together the Bacteria 'zine. These are artists that still put the effort into what they do, that witness and utilize the more esoteric properties of art, that strive to get better with every piece and possibly above all, artists that do this because there never was any other option in the first place. This is what we want to - and have to- do. Artists that view their work as a craft and not a simple light hearted commodity, form what we would consider our 'scene', if any. This scene is definitely not location-based, thanks to the internet and a fixation with traveling. We're proud to be a very small part of a large loose scene of inspiring artists.

A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?

We still don't have a website, which is something we'll sort out very soon, we promise. You can find us at , email us at viralgraphics(at) and buy our posters from . In real life, you can see our stuff on dusty vinyls and decrepit walls. Also, a lot of our past year's work will be included in the Bacteria art zine which is soon to be released.

The best praise you received lately?

It wasn't exactly 'praise' , but it was a pleasure to meet some of our favorite artists in our travels over the past couple of years. They were great guys above all, excellent artists, they knew and respected our work and we were more than happy to be viewed by them as peers.

What can we wish you for the future?

To be able to continue doing what we do, until we get sick of everything and go live with the wolves.

Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!

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